Andrew Martin

Journalist and novelist Andrew Martin is the author of the 'Jim Stringer' series of novels based around railways. He has written for the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman among others.

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Let's love all those tennis racquets languishing in the attic

Or perhaps it's just the kind of thing you expect to see up there, like parrot cages, golf bags and empty picture frames
Pope Francis has dismissed the five Italians who oversaw the Vatican's financial watchdog

It seems that some national caricatures are allowable... if they're complimentary

In the wake of a scandal, Pope Francis has dismissed the five Italians who oversaw the Vatican's financial watchdog, replacing them with a new board comprising only one Italian. Announcing the news on the Today programme James Naughtie put a subtle yet distinct emphasis on the word "Italians". He then interviewed the BBC's revered, earnest Rome correspondent, Alan Johnston, about the story. "They," Naughtie repeated, in reference to the five Italians, "were all Italian, and the replacements were not all Italian." If Johnston was considering saying, "We seem to be lumbering towards a national caricature here,"... he avoided the impulse. Instead, he coyly remarked, "Yes … interesting to note the nationalities involved." Still time to retreat from the brink? Apparently not. "It's part of this effort we're seeing," said Mr Johnston, "to break with this Italian business culture… which can be less than transparent."

From sausages to fish pie, a 30-year journey

On average, we eat five evening meals at home every week

The kindness of strangers: a highly charged issue

Last week, the European Parliament voted that, from 2017, all mobile phone chargers must be compatible with all mobile phones. It's as though the MEPs had been to our house, and inspected the boxful of old chargers, some Tipp-Exed with the initials of one son, some with the initials of another. One simply has a question mark. It is as if the MEPs had also joined me when, a few years back, I took the boys on a camping holiday to Cornwall. Leaving London, I realised I had forgotten my charger. The holiday lasted a week, and I spent three days of it driving around trying to buy a replacement. The shopkeepers would frown, "You're after a Nokia charger, you say?" After a while it became hard to keep the bitterness out of my voice as I replied, "Yes. Nokia. The largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world."

David Bowie has been a virtuoso of fame since the early Seventies

The cool were at the Brits. The ultra-cool weren't

Some people – like David Bowie with his non-appearance at the awards – just know what they can get away with. Unfortunately some don't

According to Ofcom, we’ve rediscovered watching TV in the living room – but it’s not what it was

The main TV holds forth as priest in the pulpit, while the smaller devices provide additional solace to the media worshippers in place of prayer books or rosary beads

Then and now: Mick Jagger in the 60s, the 80s, and today

Mick, quite happy being Mick. Wouldn't you be?

With another Rolling Stones tour about to begin, Andrew Martin reflects on the Jagger charisma and wonders how nothing bad ever seems to stick to him

Oscar Pistorius awaits the verdict on his bail hearing on Friday

The baffling case of murder most irresistible

The compelling case of Oscar Pistorius makes Andrew Martin ask himself why he bothers writing murder stories when the real thing is so effortlessly sensational

Tickets, please: Commuting in 1939 was good for newspaper sales

When taking the train was a sign of prosperity

The trendy sneer at suburbia and espouse only city living. But we are pretty much all commuters now, whatever the cost

Dear, oh dear: Tony Hancock in his Hancock’s Half Hour series captured the boredom of life 50 years ago

The joys of boredom!

Modern life is so full of distractions, there's a risk we never get beyond the surface. Andrew Martin admits a bit of tedium can put the good things into proportion

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Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor